Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pats' WR status mildly clearer with Gonzalez release


The Patriots' receiving corps is currently in super-overload mode. New England dropped a little weight Tuesday.

Veteran receiver Anthony Gonzalez, formerly of the Colts, was released by the Patriots this week after being added to New England's loaded group of wideouts in March.

Gonzalez was slated to compete with a plethora of capable players at his position for a spot on the final roster. However, the oft-injured receiver didn't make it to training camp.

Gonzalez's release slightly narrows down the outlook of New England's pass catchers. The NFL's leader in receptions from a season ago in Wes Welker is a roster lock, as is new Patriot Brandon Lloyd, who has reportedly been impressive during his limited time with New England.

The rest of New England's wideout group includes the drastically-declining Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch, Jabar Gaffney, Julian Edelman, Donte Stallworth, Matthew Slater, Jeremy Ebert and Britt Davis.

Ochocinco used to be a premier receiver in the NFL but caught just 15 passes last year in arguably the best passing offensive in the league. Branch is on the decline, and Stallworth is a veteran on the fringe.

However, Gaffney likely has a good shot at sticking around, and Edelman and Slater's versatility outside of the offense make them a little more valuable. Branch returned punts in OTAs this week, which means he, too, is looking to add value. Ebert and Davis are raw and will likely be on the practice squad this season.

Note: Also Tuesday, New England officially inked free agent offensive lineman Jamey Richard, rookie free agent tight end Nick Melillo and seventh-round defensive back Alfonzo Dennard.

Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily